Goa down Chennai to top ISL table
Chennai: Leo Moura and Jonatan Lucca fired home from the penalty spot as FC Goa notched up a 2-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter here on Thursday to jump to the top spot of the points table.
Moura converted a penalty in the 64th minute and Lucca scored in the 74th as Goa took their tally to 14 points from eight matches, one point ahead of second-placed FC Pune City. Chennaiyin on the other hand, suffered the fourth loss of their campaign and are placed fifth with 10 points from eight matches.
To make matters worse for Chennaiyin, their midfielder Harmanjyot Singh Khabra was sent off in the 89th minute, the second time he has been shown the red card in this edition of the ISL.
Chennai had defeated Goa 4-0 in their first leg clash in Panaji and it was not surprising to see the visitors opt for an extra man in defence. The five-man defence made it difficult for Chennaiyin to break them down, although Stiven Mendoza had several chances to open their account.
The best chance for Chennai fell at the feet of Mendoza in the 35th minute. Elano Blumer’s free kick missed all the Goa defenders and fell nicely for Mendoza, but the Colombian striker’s right-footed attempt from close range sailed wide of the target.
Goa did not have too many clear chances at the rival goal but Brazilian striker Rafael Coelho, playing for the first time, showed promise. He twice managed to speed his way down the left flank, but did not cross well enough and Thongkhosiem Haokip came close in the 45th minute, but Mehrajuddin Wadoo somehow managed to push the ball out for an abortive corner.
Goa turned things around in the second session with two spot kicks, both of which were converted with ease.
The first was in the 64th minute when a long, hasty clearance by Goa defender Luciano saw Rafael race into the Chennaiyin penalty area only for Mendy to bring the Brazilian striker down. The referee awarded a penalty which Moura converted by sending Karanjit the wrong way.
Goa won the second penalty when Moura pulled a ball back from inside a crowded goalmouth for Rafael whose shot was headed towards goal. But Wadoo blocked it with his knee only for the rebound to strike his own hand. Another penalty and this time and Lucca stepped up to double the visitors’ advantage.
Chennaiyin finished the match with 10 men after Khabra, who was playing his first match after serving suspension for a previous red card, was sent off for a tackle on Moura.